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Fresh at 50: Nature Preserves program hits half-century
Start Date: 4/10/2017
Event Description:
The annual arrival of spring means prime time to visit Indiana’s nature preserves.

But this season is special. Fifty years ago, in 1967, the Indiana Legislature passed the Nature Preserves Act, which made the protection of such properties possible.

“The Act created a structure for protecting the most widely and evenly distributed system of state-significant public properties in Indiana,” said John Bacone, director of the DNR Division of Nature Preserves, which was created by the Act to manage the program.

Starting with the dedication of Pine Hills Nature Preserve in Montgomery County in 1969, there are now dedicated nature preserves in 70 of Indiana’s 92 counties. Those 277 preserves protect a combined 52,182 acres.

That protected land includes at least one example of almost every type of the 61 natural communities found in Indiana at the time of its settlement. Some of these natural community types include old-growth forests (Shrader-Weaver Nature Preserve), geologic features (Portland Arch NP), sand savannas (Hoosier Prairie NP), dunes (Dunes Nature Preserve), prairies (Smith Cemetery NP), and lakes (Olin Lake NP).

The system also protects large landscapes such as the glacial morainal complex at Moraine NP, kettle lakes (at Spicer Lake NP), karst features (at Mitchell Sinkhole Plain), and many others.

“There are many types of state protection for land in Indiana, but a dedicated nature preserve has the highest level,” Bacone said. “It is intended to remain in its natural ecological condition in perpetuity

Such nature preserves are owned by 45 different entities, including the DNR divisions of Nature Preserves, Forestry, State Parks, and Fish & Wildlife, as well as land trusts, city and county park departments, and colleges and universities.

“During 2017, and in the years to come, I hope you will visit as many of these special places as possible, and enjoy these remnants of the ‘original Indiana,’ ” Bacone said.

For more information, including a map of all of Indiana’s nature preserves, see Watch there for details on a series of naturalist-led hikes throughout the year.

To view all DNR news releases, please see

Contact Information:
Name: Marty Benson
Phone: (317) 233-3853
State calendar entry type:
Press Release
State calendar entry category:
State calendar classification:
  • Residents
  • Visiting and Playing
  • Agency Name:
  • Natural Resources, Department of

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